Psychedelic Warlords

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Dating from those dark days before EMI set about putting its Hawkwind back catalog into much needed order, Psychedelic Warlords represents one of the sharpest of all Hawkwind compilations, drawing from both the regular albums and various non-LP singles to offer up a startling overview of the band at its primal (1970-1975) best. Rarities abound -- the tumultuous "Urban Guerilla," a call to violent arms that was banned in Britain when its release coincided with an IRA bombing campaign, is joined by its B-side, "Brainbox Pollution," the live "It's So Easy," the edited "Psychedelic Warlords," and the hit "Silver Machine," almost but not quite spiraling out of the Space Ritual-era "Shouldn't Do That," just as it did on the Road Hawks compilation. It's a gripping juxtaposition and, to an entire generation of Hawkwind listeners, makes more sense than any of the other couplings the track has endured. Elsewhere, there may be a little too much emphasis paid to the band's eponymous debut album, but the tracks are sufficiently well spaced that it doesn't matter -- besides, you're still recovering from ten minutes of "Brainstorm" long after "Hurry on Sundown" has lilted into view. One disc, of course, stands no chance whatsoever of being defined as even a halfway "best of" Hawkwind. But still, there's enough here to keep the most demanding ears open and, though the rarities themselves have since appeared as bonus tracks on sundry U.K. reissues, it's still great to have them all in one place.

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